Russia's WW2 victory parade draws rebuke from Ukraine

For the first time in 70 years, Ukraine has remembered World War II victims on May 8, the day when memorial services are held in European countries

Russia's WW2 victory parade draws rebuke from Ukraine

World Bulletin / News Desk

At a parade in Kiev President Petro Poroshenko said Moscow was trying to hog the credit for the World War Two victory at Ukraine's expense.

Ukraine marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II Friday, preceding by one day a military parade in Moscow on May 9, the traditional date of when the end of the “Great Patriotic War” is celebrated in post-Soviet states. 

President Petro Poroshenko appeared on television to give a speech, saying, "On May 8, for the first time, the people of Ukraine will join the European tradition to commemorate the victims of World War II,” Poroshenko said, speaking a day before celebrations in Moscow commemorating allied victory over Nazi Germany.

Friday’s celebrations marked another symbolic step by Kyiv to distance Ukraine from its Soviet past by celebrating, for the first time in 70 years, the end of World War II on the same day as the U.S. and Western Europe.

On Lviv’s streets, Ukrainian flags hung on street poles. Soldiers walked in streets in ful luniform covered in medals. Civilians wore red and black poppies on their lapels which has become the new symbol of Ukraine’s remembrance of World War II, replacing the orange nd black St. George’s ribbon, which is the traditional Soviet symbol of victory in the “Great Patriotic War”—and is now a symbol for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

 Ukraine says it lost between 8-10 million of its citizens, including 3.5 million in the Soviet forces.

Poroshenko rebuked Moscow for accusing Kiev of using "fascist" methods to oust Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich in February last year which triggered the confrontation and sparked Russia's annexation of Crimea and a pro-Russian separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

A minority of Ukrainian fighters in World War Two joined a militia that was prepared to ally itself with the Nazi invaders to fight Soviet Communist rule, leaving Ukrainian nationalism vulnerable since to accusations of fascist sympathies.

"It is the utmost cynicism to depict our country as a supposedly fascist state. It is done with the aim of justifying to the Russian people its own criminal action - Russia's aggression against Ukraine," Poroshenko said.

In a further sign of distancing itself from its former Soviet master, Ukraine joined most of Europe in a separate ceremony on Friday, a day before Russia.

At a second ceremony on Saturday, Poroshenko said: "We will never again mark this day with the Russian scenario which cold-bloodedly uses our victory day as an apology for its expansionist policies and for keeping its neighbours in its orbit and recreating empire."

More than 6,100 people have been killed in fighting between pro-Russian separatists and government forces ineastern Ukraine which Kiev says has been stoked by RussiaMoscow, which annexed the Crimea peninsulafrom Ukraine last year, accuses the West of orchestrating the events that led to the Ukrainian uprising.

Though a ceasefire is still tenuously holding, the Ukrainian military said on Saturday that separatists, backed byRussia, were keeping up attacks with artillery and mortar bombing on government forces in the east and south-east of Ukraine.

It said four Ukrainian servicemen had been wounded in attacks in the past 24 hours. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Mayıs 2015, 14:42